Trying to figure out how to choose fishing hook sizes out of all the choices available can be mind-blowing. Many anglers grab the basic size and shape of the hook that parents and grandparents before them used.
These hooks may work very well in the fishing spots you like to go to, but the amount of fish lost can be reduced if the correct fish hook is chosen from the start.
Choosing the correct size and shape of a fishing hook begins with analyzing the fish being sought and the location of the fishing spot. The bigger the fish is, the bigger the hook that will be needed. The deeper the body of water that is being fished, the larger the fish will be for the most part, which means a bigger hook will need to be used.
The size of the fishing hook that you need to use will depend upon the type of fish. From there, you will need to figure out where the fishing spot is, how deep of water you will be getting the hook wet in, and how big the fish is in the location.
It may seem like a lot to figure out, but it is very simple once you know the basics of picking the perfect hook size. Let’s dig into this topic a little more in-depth.
What Are the Different Sizes Of Fish Hooks?
Fish hooks come in many sizes and shapes, all specifically designed for a particular type and size of fish. They all follow the same kind of sizing, making it much easier for you to pick the perfect size for the occasion.
Granted, each manufacturer will be slightly different, but the hooks will be close to the same. The one thing that is always the same, however, is the size of the hook.
The sizing of the hook will start from 0 (0 is not used as a hook size) and either go up or down. When the size goes down in number (let’s say 14), it is smaller than 0. If it gets bigger, it will be an aught size (let’s say 14/0).
The two sides of the scale have been broken down even further for anglers. The standard sizing (below 1) is for freshwater fishing, while the “aught” sizes are more for saltwater fishing.
|SIZE OF HOOK||BIG OR SMALL|
This table makes it easier to see the actual differences in the hook when standing in front of the aisle with rows and rows of hooks.
No matter what fishing, or retail chain, store you walk into, it will be much easier to pick the perfect hook size when you know what the sizes mean.
It can get very frustrating when a fish bites your bait, the pole dances at each hit, but nothing ever gets hooked.
This may be due to the bait and how you are trying to set the hook, but most of the time, it will be because the hook on the end of the line is too big for the majority size of fish in the spot you are in.
If the hook is too small, the big fish will get away, and if they are too big, the smaller fish will not be able to do anything except strip the bait off.
What Hook Size Is the Best?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the best hook size because it depends on the fish, the water, and you. There are a few guidelines that you can follow when first putting a hook onto your line, but they are not set in stone, so feel free to experiment and find your own best sizes to use.
|HOOK SIZE||BEST FISH||PROS||CONS|
|5/0 or bigger||Shark, sailfish, tarpon||Great for catching large ocean fish||Only useable when hunting for big fish|
|2/0||pompano, bluefish, snook, bass||All around hook for any type of ocean fishing||Too big for many fishing situations, especially when freshwater fishing|
|8-12||Panfish||Perfect for most freshwater applications for smaller fish||Too small for bigger fish because they can spit out easily|
|8-14||Trout||All around sizes that can catch numerous fish breeds||It may be too small to land big fish in a large lake|
|2-6||Crappie||Great sizes for fish that are a little bigger||Smaller fish will not be able to get the hook in their mouths, so they will strip your bait|
|2/0-4||Walleye||It can be effectively used to catch all fish in the areas that you would usually find walleye||Too big for smaller fish that are around the edges of lakes and ponds|
|6/0-2/0||Pike||Perfect for catching bigger pike in ponds and rivers||Too big to catch anything but pike in the areas that you are fishing|
|8/0-4/0||Muskie||Perfect size to catch the bigger fish in lakes and ponds||Too big to catch any smaller fish in the area|
What Are the Different Types of Hooks?
A hook that an angler found to be an exceptional design for a specific fish. The types of hooks are numerous, and a new one will be made available on the market every day.
Some hooks work very well, but others are more trouble than they are worth. You will need to choose your favorite style, but the decision should be made from an informed point of view.
Photo courtesy of North Dakota Game and Fish – 4 most common fish, hook types.
These are the four most common fishing hooks that can be used, but it is by only some of them.
Each has its specific use, designed to maximize the amount of fish you catch with them. The most versatile is the Aberdeen Hook because it can be used for almost any occasion. However, that may be one of the many causes why the fish never stay on the hook.
What Is the Octopus Hook Used For, And What Size?
The Octopus Hook is a variant of the popular Circle Hook used by catch-and-release angulars. It can be used to catch almost any type of fish, and because of how it is designed, the hook will not harm the fish as much as the other styles will.
The main difference between the two the Octopus Hook is that the eye of the hook is bent backward at about a 30-degree angle from the hook’s shank.
It is designed this way because when the line is pulled tight (by reeling, do not jerk to set the hook), it will rock forward slightly in the fish’s mouth, making it easier to hook along the sides of the mouth.
The hook is best suited for live baits or plastic baits produced to mimic the real thing, especially smaller critters like leeches and small minnows. The Octopus Hook is a master at catching fish that like to feed on live bait.
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
- Sea Bass
- Sea Trout
The species of fish that can be caught with a sharp Octopus Hook are endless. If the fish you are hunting for likes to eat live fish, this hook will work.
It is a choice that needs to be left up to your personal preferences, so if you have yet to try these hooks before, give them a shot and make the decision yourself.
What Is the Worm Hook Used For, And What Size?
It is a common misconception that the Worm Hook is the best to use live bait, such as worms. They work for that task, but the Circle and Octopus Hooks work much better.
The worm hook is designed with a larger gap than most other hook types, allowing a large plastic bait to be put on.
Plastic bait is best used with these hooks because they were designed for it. Many different types of fish can be caught on these hooks, but they are best suited for fish that enjoy live baits but will not hesitate to chomp on a plastic replica.
- Sea trout
- Smallmouth bass
The Worm Hook is more than capable of catching fish with live bait, but the more intelligent fish species (such as trout) will see the hook and eye when anything but a large plastic replica is attached to it correctly.
The gap is big for one reason: to hold the large parts of the plastic baits you plan to use. Using live worms or insects, you are best directed to use a different hook style.
What Is the Aberdeen Hook Used For, And What Size?
The Aberdeen Hook is designed with a long shank on end, making it ideal for live minnows and larger cut bait. The wire is thin on these hooks, which allows it to bend or break instead of snapping the line and losing all your rigging.
The design makes it the perfect hook for bottom fishing and casting into water that may have numerous snags scattered around underneath the surface.
They are harder to set when you do get a bite, though. Unlike the circle or octopus hooks that tilt inside the mouth to aid in hooking. The Aberdeen Hook will need to be set in the mouth of the fish with small, fast jerks on the pole (which pulls on the line.)
Many fish types can be caught with his hook, especially the bigger fish that only love fresh meat.
- Sea trout
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Sea bass
The bigger the hook, the bigger the fish that you can catch. Sharks and sailfish can be caught on these hooks if they are big enough because they give you plenty of room to bait it with larger bait cuts or full-sized fish.
The other hooks can also be used if they are big enough to hold the bait, but the Aberdeen hooks are the main stable that can be found in most tackle boxes, no matter what type of fishing is.
What Is the Treble Hook Used For, And What Size?
Treble Hooks were designed to work with any lure but can also be used with any bait. They are perfect for fishing for predators that love live bait, but they can also be rigged up to fish for large fish that sit in the cold, dark depths of the lakes and oceans you are fishing in.
The three prongs make it much easier to hook a fish (not so easy to unhook), which will increase your catch rates by a significant amount.
Much like the other hooks, it can be used to catch numerous species of fish, including the larger ocean fish that are simply too many to list here.
- Largemouth bass
- Smallmouth bass
- Sea bass
- Ocean trout
- Lake trout
The list can go on and on, but the main thing to remember is that the treble hook is sturdy enough to hook and pull in any size of fish, as long as you have the size of hook that you need for the job.
The one thing to remember with these hooks is that they not only increase your chances of hooking a fish but will also almost guarantee you will catch snags in and out of the water, as well as a finger or two.
When choosing the perfect hook size, you must match the size of the hook to the type of fish you are after. It will also make a difference in how big the fish are in the fished area.
A lake trout in a small man-made lake will not be nearly as big as one on a large lake that supplies cold water and plenty of food. So you will need to adjust the hooks accordingly.
Use the information above to guide you on your way to answering how to pick the right hook. Ultimately, the choice will be up to you and your personal preferences.
Only some anglers fish the same way, and only a few use the same hook and bait set-up, so go with what you prefer. But you should at least give the others a try so you can compare them with each other.